‘This hasn’t happened overnight’
HGV driver Jon Clarke said the shortage of drivers has been years in the making. The driver of 14 years said poor conditions and a lack of investment forced people out of the industry without recruiting younger staff into the sector.
“This hasn’t happened overnight, anyone who does the job will tell you we all saw it coming a long time ago,” Mr Clarke told The Independent. “This has been coming for years,” he added.
Mr Clarke, who drives lorries across mainland Europe, said treatment and pay of HGV drivers has made the job unappealing. He argued that while the public has been in an uproar about rising HGV driver salaries, up until recently, his wage had been the same for 10 years.
He also lamented the poor facilities available for drivers in the UK.
“Parking in any of the service stations in the UK is £30-plus a night if you can get in. The facilities are dire, you can’t get anything proper to eat apart from takeaway food and you’ve got showers I wouldn’t wash my dog in – until the infrastructure is there you’re not going to entice people into it as a career,” he said.
Brexit, coronavirus and people leaving the industry created a “perfect storm” Mr Clarke added, but he insisted the government was warned about driver depletions for a decade and didn’t do enough.